Quick and easy DIY winterizing tips

By Tara Nolan

Photo by iStockPhoto/Thinkstock

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As the temperature dips, the thermostat tends to rise. But some of that warm air will escape through various nooks and crannies. Here are some ways to cosy up your home to save energy—and perhaps shave a few dollars off your bills.

Add to your attic

As building codes change over time or as your existing insulation settles, your attic may not be optimized to keep your house warm. Increase the R-value with a product like Roxul RockFill, a loose insulation that you can apply over existing insulation.

Inspect your ducts

According to the federal Energy Star program, about 20 per cent of the air that moves through the ducts in your home can be lost because of leaks and poorly sealed connections. Use a duct sealant in the areas you can reach.

Search for gaps

Look around the house for cracks where air could be seeping in. Common culprits include areas around pipes, lines and cables coming into the house and around windows and doors. Use a spray-foam insulation, such as Touch ’n’ Foam, to seal these unwelcome holes.

Watch your fan

Did you know that if you set your ceiling fan to turn clockwise (it should run counter-clockwise for summer breezes), it will push all that nice, warm air down into the room?

Wrap your windows

If you have old, drafty windows, grab a window kit and a hair dryer. 3M sells indoor and outdoor insulator kits in a variety of sizes that seal your windows for the winter season, keeping warm air inside.

Safety Check

While you’re sealing your house to boost its energy efficiency, it’s also a wise idea to have a professional give your fuel-burning appliances (and surrounding areas, such as vents and chimneys) a checkup. Carbon monoxide, a colourless, odourless and potentially deadly gas, can build up, leading to serious illness or death.

Health Canada provides tips and links to information about how to prevent carbon monoxide issues in your home.

If you don’t already have a carbon monoxide detector, install one where you will be able to hear the alarm.

A Universal Security Instruments carbon monoxide and natural gas alarm, which covers only one electrical outlet, is available for $40 from Canadian Tire.

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